Direct observations of egg masses on the shore indicates that Lipophrys pholis is a winter and spring spawner in Portuguese waters. The results are compared with those published for the British Isles.
Lipophrys pholis, Linnaeus, 1758, is a very common intertidal fish in the north-eastern Atlantic and in the North Sea. Considerable work has been published concerning its breeding season in British waters (Lebour, 1927; Qasim, 1957; Shackley & King, 1977). The breeding season of the species at the southern limit of its range is almost unknown, and Zander (1986) mentions the period from April to August for the whole species. Based on dates of first appearance of larvae in plankton collected in the Bay of Biscay, Villegas (1981) concluded that breeding should have begun as early as the end of December.
In this report we present data on the spawning season of this blenny based on direct observation of the presence of eggs and/or parental guarding males on the shore.
Data were collected at a site located at Arrábida (38°28′N, 8°59′W), near Senibal, 50 km south of Lisbon, Portugal. In the course of behavioural observations on the breeding males of L. pholis, the area was visited at various intervals during the period 1986 to 1989. The nests were located intertidally in holes in vertical walls. On each visit, the presence of eggs and/or black males inside the nests was registered. Each nest was mapped for inspection in subsequent visits. The results are summarized in Figure 1.
It is clear that in our study area breeding begins as early as December, and has virtually ended in June.